Maybe it’s because winter makes me restless. Maybe it’s because I’m shifting (always shifting, my friends) into a different season of parenthood. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten pregnant again – a whole other personal journey I shouldn’t divulge to the internet world. Maybe it’s because we’ve been weaning and my pre-pregnancy hormones are alive more than they’ve ever been since becoming a mother. Maybe it’s because some new kernel is growing in me – the part that is ready to shed and grow. Maybe it’s because New York City does things to you, it constantly pushes you to grow. Shed and grow. Shed and grow.
I’m ready to pursue. As I worked part time over the last 2 years, I told myself to keep my career on low-simmer. Just keep it alive, Cass. Vienna will wait for you.
This weekend, I’m finally wrapping up my FEMM certification after nearly 3 years. I was 6 weeks pregnant when I sat in my first FEMM class. It wasn’t supposed to take that long but you know, here I am. I recently solidified La Leche League Leadership, another pursuit that seemed to drag on forever. They said there was no rush and that it should happen organically. Ok. I’m on the lookout for my next continuing ed opportunities. I’ve got some direction, trying to shed and grow.
These certifications don’t mean much in the professional world. No, I didn’t get a PhD or become an MD, or even get a degree. But they matter to me. I finished something. I’m even starting to finish books. I’m trying to take my time with things. Vienna waits for you. I’ll never forget when my 4th grade teacher had a sit down meeting with my parents because he said I “never double checked my work, blew through tests, and was reliably always the first one done – head and shoulders before anyone else.” B+. Not bad for one gust of exam flurry, eh?
I’m still like that. Even throughout college, I was nearly always the first one done. At age 27, I’m trying to parent myself through it when I catch myself rushing through something that maybe I can slow down on. Vienna waits.
I never considered myself competitive. I never took board games seriously. I figure skated but chatting with boys on the bleachers was a more motivating factor than a gold medal. I was not an award junkie. I was a solid A/B student. You should have seen me at ultimate frisbee – are we supposed to care about this?
This was not necessarily because I was lazy, or not good, or even sub par. I now realize it was largely out of fear. If I didn’t care and won – great. If I didn’t care and lost – then I had nothing to lose. It was a win-win. My ambivalence towards succeeding was more protective armor than an actual personality trait.
So here I am, on the dawn of my next career venture, trying to figure out to what extent I should care. I want to care and I’m scared to care. I’m scared I will care and either fail, or worse, change my mind. Is there room for that? There has to be. Even the most regal of trees lose their leaves from time to time. There has to be more wiggle room than I think. Can I get quiet enough to listen? Can you hear it?
It’s ok. You are ok. You are not your accolades. Your are not your titles. You are not your social media following. You are not your certifications.
Do I believe that? Maybe. Maybe not. I hope Vienna is waiting.